Gallery showcases work of recovering addicts


Artists who contribute to the gallery are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. The artists who contribute to the gallery and the facility's founder are some people you should know.

It's called Refuge and it's an art gallery with a mission. Located in downtown Skokie, it features the work of graphic artists in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Designer Bill Current came up with the idea.

"I've been in recovery for five-and-a-half years, drugs and alcohol, and before that I just didn't give back to the world. I was a taker," said Current. "We need to be responsible for something in the world. That's what recovery has taught me."

The current show is entitled "Love and Hate." Joe Boudreau is one of the 10 artists whose work is on display is on display.

"I totally lost track of my paint career. You know, obviously, I got distracted for years there, and for me its' given me, like, self-confidence, really," Boudreau said.

Mark Oldach, a graphic designer, is a founding board member of Refuge.

"I actually did not paint before I went into recovery. And I started painting as a result of being a part of this organization," Oldach said.

Since Refuge opened its doors three years ago this April, 250 artists who are in recovery and their supporters have had an opportunity to display their work.

Former Chicagoan Julie Caffey, now a San Francisco theatre director, traveled from the Bay Area to contribute to the exhibition.

"It's such a gift of recovery to change the way we perceive the world and our answer to the way in which we perceive the world. And I don't have to drink anymore to change that," said Caffey, founding board member.

Refuge has hosted seven shows running two and a half months each. The current show is number eight.

"People don't talk about recovery easily. It's quiet in the closet, family kept secret, and by bringing it to the forefront we're allowing people to get a glimpse of what recovery can be and in a positive side.," said Current.

The artists of Refuge in Skokie, some people you should know. And to learn more about the organization log on to their web site,

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